So you want to start a freelance business. That is nice, and even commendable. You also want to know how to succeed at your proposed freelance business before launching out, right? That’s okay too. A freelance job connotes working independently and on a temporary contract, rather than for a long-term or permanent employer.
Starting a freelance business is a side job that does not require you to quit your day job – although this might be an ultimate possibility, but helps to augment your income and allows you to monetize your talents and skills in the most flexible manner and time possible. The internet has made freelancing a great possibility for millions of people, and billions of dollars change hands every minute via freelancing contracts online.
You too can tap into this profitability by working for yourself, and utilizing the following 10 tips to launch your own freelance business.
Define your ultimate goals
Your goal must be clearly articulated before you venture into freelance business. Remember millions of people are competing for the same business online, using the same resources – so you need a well-defined goal to be able to outsell competitors and attract business to yourself. So why do you want to have a side job? Your reasons could be –
- To earn good income that will augment your monthly salary
- To ultimately quit your day job and be your own boss
- To monetize your skills and talent for paying clients
- To enjoy the flexibility of time, space, and naming your price
- To launch a business that will help you achieve higher goals
Compete on value within a profitable niche
With millions of people leaving their physical jobs to take up freelancing online, you stand a slim chance of truly becoming your own boss without a great plan in place. Not with people who would work for peanuts to crank out hundreds of substandard projects. Don’t ever plan to compete online via lower pricing, it is useless; rather compete on value within a profitable niche. There are millions of article writers online – so compete as a specialist on news writing alone, or on press releases, or on white papers.
Put a launching plan in place
You need to develop a perfect content plan before starting your freelance business. You need a comprehensive plan that comprises of a unique business name; credentials that detail your work experience, project portfolio and client testimonials; business plan that includes your pricing, budgets, and work categories; dedicated website that shows your services, bio, FAQs, and professional expertise; and series of promotional items which might include blog posts, press releases, and product give-away among others.
Identify your ideal clients or target audience
You are a trained professional and can’t service the needs of everyone in the worldwide market, so you must tailor your services to meet the needs of identified clients or some target audience. Having identified your target clients, what do you know about them to enable you market yourself to them? To this extent, you must identify your target audience’ problems and recognize your ability to solve them. You must be certain your audience can pay superbly for your services to enable you reach your goals, and also determine demographics that would make them rely on your services.
Create an appealing online presence for greater visibility
You need the far-reaching powers of the internet to reach potential clients from around the world. You need a good website that would promote your brand identity. Your website gives you an online visibility and creates a visual identity that clients can relate to. Your website is not only to showcase your personality and professional ability; it is also to showcase your portfolio of work. With your website, you must show examples of your work and specialty, list your contact information, highlight your skills and education, display your testimonials, and show latest work and new clients.
Presell yourself through your portfolio website
Potential clients will not like to contact you unless they are convinced you can service their needs, and the best way to convince them is to create examples of what you can deliver to them on your portfolio website. Demonstrate your expertise on your website to convince potential clients. Are you a freelance writer? Then create sample blog posts and highly-optimized articles that potential clients would love. Are you a graphic designer? Then put up samples of logos and website designs you’ve created or capable of creating on your website to convince customers you’re very capable of satisfying them.
Know what a typical workflow requires
This means you must understand the processes of a typical workflow, or the pattern of things from when a client first contacts you to when you get paid for delivering a perfect job. For instance, a potential customer visits your site and then sends you a mail via the inquiry form on your website; you analyze his project needs and decides if it is something you can do or whether to recommend some other freelancers; you respond via email or from a template on your website for the sake of professionalism; customer accepts and awards you the job which you then complete and deliver; customer pays you after you submit an invoice and even provides you with a testimonial or a referral; the process repeats itself or you make it repeat itself in a rewarding cycle that keeps you busy and paid.
Design and utilize business documents and agreements
You never know, but formal documents are going to help you a lot in freelancing – just as physical businesses or companies rely on documents for success. Sign a contract or agreement with your clients – not because you don’t trust each other, but to outline what you both expect from each other; and to protect you in case the client expects you to provide additional services he has only implied. The documents you need may be an agreement form, a non-disclosure contract, a price sheet, PDF of work process and other necessary papers.
Learn how to pitch yourself to potential clients
You must be able to make yourself visible to potential clients to win their business. This strategy ranges from mentioning them in your blog posts to pitching directly for their patronage. You can start by just writing an awesome blog post and then mentioning the companies and brands you’ll like to work with in the future in the written content. You can then publish the post and notify the target brands or companies of the fact that you mentioned them in your post, asking them to take a look so that you can make necessary edits if you didn’t cast them in enough positive light. This will surely make the company or brand to appreciate your effort and keep you in mind for future projects. You can as well pitch directly by submitting a proposal of your specialty, your portfolio, and what you intend to do for them to win them more businesses via your projects.
Launch your freelance business when it’s time
You will know the right time to launch your freelance business when it comes. You must however note that you must never jeopardize your current day job until you are set to pack your bag and exit to launch your freelance career. When launching your freelance business, you must find a way to get paid for your work by submitting invoices at the appropriate time. You can use PayPal, Wave, Invoice2go, Invoiceable, and Invoiced to send free invoice to your clients to get paid.